I consider myself a Cinephile, which by urban dictionary definition is a film or movie enthusiast, and once I heard about the remake for this classic film about a year ago I was appalled by the idea. Some movies just shouldn't be touched in my eyes. They should be left to sit as masterpieces or cult classics of their time that live on to this day. You could say that a reboot for this movie isn't as much of a big deal as most reboots that they've attempted but it was for me when I first caught word of it.
Now, after the release of the first full trailer, I have such high hopes for this retelling of a classic. of course, I fall in line with the people that get super excited over trailers but then the movie turns out to stink like Pepe Le Pew. But you can't deny that it looks good enough just off the trailer to give it a shot. In my opinion, I have changed how I may think towards this films reboot.
Than I started thinking, what about all the other reboots they tried? The ones that succeeded and the ones the made people gringe for all the wrong reasons. I started to dig a little into my own personal collection and with a few google searches to help jog my memory for certain things, I came up with a list. I only went as far back as 15 years and I stuck in the horror genre for this list because it just fits.
Since there were a lot of films to create this list and, since it's 2015, I narrowed it down to 15 films to create a short comparison and develop a ratio between when it works out and when it flops. Now I have to state this is all based on opinion. I watch a lot of films and I'm very into film theory so my explanations are merely from a personal point of view.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Original release 1984, rebooted in 2010)
I'm a big fan of Jackie Earle Haley, who they picked to play the new Freddy Krueger, ever since his portrayal of Rorschach in The Watchmen movie. I think he did a great job for the part and he played the character very well. I will say that the plot could've been a little better. The way they made everything flow just didn't fit to me. Especially with how the people in the community turned against Freddy before he became a dream demon. But I stand by saying that Haley played the part to a tee and I can't picture anyone else trying for that roll outside of him and, of course, Robert England.
I heard a lot of backlash about how bad they did with this films reboot. No one can argue how the original movie series is excellent in its own right and so far I haven't heard about any other remakes from the series besides the 2010 film. What they have released is a lengthy documentary about the original film series that is definitely worth sitting through for any fans. It's on Netflix so check it out.
2. Halloween (Original release 1978, rebooted in 2007)
My girlfriend is one of the biggest Rob Zombie fans out there and I never disagree with her when it comes to his directing expertise. The original film, like Elm Street and a variety of the other films I shall mention in this article, was written and created in a time when things were different and the scares needed to come out unexpectedly. Back then, unexpected scares was a lot different compared to these days. You can't even compare it to classic horror films from back in the black and white days either. To me, I'm starting to learn that these reboots are simply made to tell the same story to apply to the new generation.
Now, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This, however, does to me. I loved Zombie's interpretation on the origins of Michael Myers and the psychological background he gave him as a child which, as a result, turned him into the killer he grew up to be. It was definitely a well done remake but...it should've been left at that.
Once he made the sequel 2 years later, it killed it for me and probably a good portion of you. Zombie is a great director when it comes to this genre but something happened during this movie that just didn't cut it for me. The first remake though, definitely a good new twist to the Halloween franchise.
3. The Amityville Horror (Original release 1979, rebooted in 2005)
This is the only film on this list, I believe, that is based on a true story with so much controversy behind it and yet it has almost a dozen films based on it. Like the previous films mentioned, and a few others coming down the line, they have made so many movies based off of this story that there is even another concept coming out later this year, The Amityville Awakening. This fits not only into the movies that probably didn't need a reboot but it also borders the fact that they shouldn't have allowed so many other movies to be adapted from it. From theater releases to B-rated straight to DVD to Netflix flops, this series has taken many turns for the worse.
The 2005 adaptation is no blockbuster either. I like Ryan Reynolds too but I don't think he helped it. Nothing will compare to the grittiness of the first film and how when viewed by people of this generation it's given 2 popular responses: 'Who found this scary' or 'damn now that's what a horror movie should be'. I don't feel like many will say that about the reboot 30 years from now but I may be wrong.
4. Black Christmas (Original release 1974, rebooted in 2006)
The first stand alone movies on my list and probably the first one where I would say 'who came up with the idea to reboot this?' I know I'm not the only one who realizes that sometimes Hollywood just shits the bed with movie ideas and they have to steal from either the past or even other countries to attempt to make movies.
This is also one of the first films on my list that definitely refers to its era and was basically made to fit that part in time. It's about a sorority house that used to belong to a killer who returns and slaughters the women that live in it now. It was basically made as scare tactics for teenagers in the 70s. When it comes to putting fear into a certain demographic, you'll find a lot of horror or slasher films based in the 70s and 80s were all about scaring teenagers into thinking that not listening to your parents or being wild and crazy sex creatures could get you killed. Unrealistic, of course for us but it scared the pants off them I bet. Hence the fact that movie ideas like this should be left in their time.
5. My Bloody Valentine (Original release 1981, rebooted in 2009)
My explanation for this film is pretty much the same as Black Christmas. Although, my other theory behind this remake is the sheer fact that it was made at the peak of their attempt at recreating the 3D aspect in movies. If you remember back about 5 or 6 years ago, they started shoving 3D down our throats. This was basically remade for the sole purpose of having an actual horror movie in 3D. That's how I see it at least.
6. Carrie (Original release 1976, rebooted in 2013)
Now this is a movie where I love both the old and the new one equally. In all aspects of the films, they were done extremely well. The original, of course, stands as a classic in its own right but it is, as well, made for its time. It was an extreme scenario of how bullying isn't right and you shouldn't judge someone because you don't know what they go through. We all should know how bullying is a terrible thing and I myself was bullied as a kid so maybe I have a bit of a sweet spot for this film but in comparison, the reboot was completely different from the original. In a good way though.
The Reboot served as more of a sweet revenge movie that gave you a sense of satisfaction when Carrie turned on her classmates and burned em all alive. Those who have been bullied know what its like to feel like all you wanna do is hurt those that terrorize you. The reboot will definitely give you that feeling where as the original, because of its old fashioned story telling, will either bore you or scare you. It's only about how you look at it.
7. Dawn of the Dead (Original release 1978, rebooted in 2004)
We all love zombies. We have left the vampire and werewolf stage of the last 10 years and we've entered the zombie loving era. Nothing beats classics and nobody told it better than George A. Romero. His original zombie series revolutionized the genre especially for its generation. When it comes to classics like this, not much compares. Not even the remakes.
I will say, the first 20 minutes, give or take, is probably the best the 2004 film gets. When the main character awakes to her daughter eating her husband then has to escape her own house, gets in her car, then drives down her nice street to see the chaos that is the zombie apocalypse. That's exactly how horrifying an idea like this gets but once she gets to that mall...good lord what happened. Not only is there barely an ounce of grief in her about her family, her husband and daughter that she just left for dead, but everything else that happens in that mall I feel is a complete over exaggeration of how people would be in that situation. The communication between the guys on the roof was pretty cool though.
8. Evil Dead (Original release 1981 named "The Evil Dead", rebooted in 2013)
These movies are what made Bruce Campbell as much of a legend as Chuck Norris. I love all of this films including its remake. Campbell himself said it was mainly remade for the core and the fact that they weren't able to do everything they wanted. Sam Rami is a good director but back in the 80s they didn't have the tools they have now to make great horror movies.
The reboot acts as a completely separate story and for those that have seen all the films might have realized that between the original, the sequel Evil Dead II, and the reboot, they're all pretty much the same story retold differently. Nothing about Evil Dead II really makes it a sequel to The Evil Dead. The real sequel to these films is The Army of Darkness which is a cult classic in its own right. Add in the core factor and some might consider this either a great film if they like that stuff or a complete waste. To me, it was excellent.
9. Friday the 13th (original release 1980, rebooted in 2009)
True horror fans, or at least anyone who has seen the first Scream movie, knows that in the original Friday the 13th film Jason isn't the killer. It's his mother and Jason doesn't come in the series until the next film. So to say this is a reboot of the original film is wrong but to call it a reboot on the franchise is better. Either way if I put it bluntly, it sucked.
This is another one of those series that will just never end and it is a classic in its own right. With almost a dozen films and Jason Voorhees being as big of a name as Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, it stands as a horror movie franchise that will be watched for years. The only issue with this remake is that it blatantly tries to use the same factors as the original. It's 2009. You can't do that. Whenever people trip in those older movies, people who are watching it get pissed. "Why the fuck is she crawling?!" We don't get it. If you wanted to reboot it, it should've been remade for this generation.
10. The Hills Have Eyes (original release 1977, rebooted in 2006)
I will say, hands down, the best remake on my list. I feel like this movie was more made for this era than when it originally came out. It had a great concept, though a bit farfetched, and it's another movie that gives you that bittersweet revenge feeling. The original, I will admit, I haven't seen in a couple of years so my memory is a little shy on it but that might be because it truly wasn't a good film back then. Someone thought it could be though and that's where we get our 2006 film. The sequel that came out about a year later though, wasn't as good. They should've just left it alone.
11. Fright Night (original release 1985, rebooted in 2011)
I view the original as more of a comedy horror than I would it's 2011 remake but the original wasn't the greatest film either. This falls into my line of questioning to why it needed to be rebooted. Part of me feels it was made around the vampire era this generation went through, with Twilight and True Blood being a big deal, but it was around the end of the era so I really don't know. Colin Farrell is a great actor too and he doesn't do a bad job at the part. I just don't get why they did it.
12. The Last House on the Left (original release 1972, rebooted in 2009)
While I was creating this list, I started to see a pattern that between 2006 and 2009 someone said "let's see how many 70s movies we could get our hands on and remake". And to me, this is for no apparent reason than to just say they could do it. I saw the original way before the reboot was even announced because it portrayed itself as the most horrific movie of the year with intriguing commercials talking about it being the center of hell. Just like films of that era, it targets a particular demographic, rebellious teen girls.
I won't deny that though the concept is farfetched, it is definitely a good plot. It's reboot definitely boosts what they couldn't do back in the 70s. The story alone probably pushed boundaries and scared half the teenage population. But these days, filmmakers have a lot more leeway when it comes to what they can do to get a scare. I would say it's definitely worth watching just for the story but you should watch them both. You'd get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.
13. The Wicker Man (original release 1973, rebooted in 2006)
This is one of those religious horror films which bases itself around a cult following that a reporter gets trapped in the middle of and turned into a sacrifice for their god. I watched them both back to back for the simple fact that Nicholas Cage plays the reporter in the rebooted version. I will never get back any of that time I put in. Over an hour of shitty story that lead to the burning of a giant straw birdcage made for a human. Maybe it was scary for it's time but for this generation, not so much.
14. Silent House (original release in 2010 in Uruguay with the title "La Casa Muda" meaning "The Silent House", remade in America in 2011)
This is the only film that I took from the same generation because I loved it. Both films are fantastic. The first trailer I saw for it was for the American version and I thought the concept was great. It's a movie all shot in one flowing cut. It looks like they never unfocus or take a break. I thought we were genius' for coming up with such a great concept. Then I discovered it's actually a Spanish film from Uruguay. Figures we can't come up with great ideas like that.
Nonetheless, they are both awesome films. I would suggest seeing them both but if you don't like reading subtitles or you don't understand Spanish, at least watch the American remake.
15. The Woman in Black (original release in 1989 in the UK, rebooted in America 2012)
IMDB actually marks the original film as a made for TV movie which I didn't know until I started writing this article. That's interesting to me but when America remade it, I was pretty certain it was to try and give Daniel Radcliffe a way to step out of his Harry Potter shadow.
But they both tell horror in different ways. The UK version, I feel, is a bit more casual and I don't mean that in a good way. It's like:
'Oh there's a ghost George.'
'By golly you're right Bernard. What should we do?'
'I don't know. Perhaps we should leave it be out of respect.'
'Yes, respect Bernard. Excellent idea old chap.'
'Indeed. It is a simple old woman you see.'
'Naturally yes, to disturb it would be horrible'
'Horrible indeed George."
You get where I'm going with this. And I don't mean to make fun of people from the UK or their film but it just came off that way to me. The reboot is no better at using the cheesy America jump-scare tactics to try to make it worthwhile. This film is also been given a sequel that is strictly American and I have not seen it yet but I do not have the best hopes for it.
Well, there ya have it. I would say the ratio is 6 out of 15 films have actually worked out, 4 out of 15 flopped completely, and 5 they shouldn't have ever done in the first place. So, with this Poltergeist reboot, who knows. It's all up in the air at this point but come July 24th 2015, we'll all know.
I left out a lot of movies in this list, I know, but I couldn't fit all of them in. You'd be reading it for hours and I'm sure the last 10 minutes was more than enough. It took me 2 days to write this thing so I understand when you just want it to be over. I do hope you enjoyed my short analysis on these films and if you haven't seen any of them I would still say to give them a chance yourself. You should only take movie reviews with a crane of salt since it's all opinionated. Your own opinion should be all that really matters.
Let me know if you enjoyed mine though. I love all kinds of feedback.